Department of Asian Languages and Cultures - Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences: Northwestern University


First-year Focus

Welcome, first year students! Courses in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures are open to all undergraduates and some graduate level students at Northwestern University.

The information below will answer many of the questions you may have as incoming freshmen or those new to DALC. If you have more questions, please get in touch with the language-specific directors/coordinators listed below.

Please make note, information regarding language placement exams for 2014-15 will be made available in June, 2014.

For more information, please visit WCAS placement exam and credit transfer page.

Why study an Asian language?
Knowledge of an Asian language offers entry into rich and complex cultures that are both fascinating and thought-provoking. Proficiency in these languages provides outstanding job qualifications in virtually any field, and if you decide to study abroad or work abroad, facility with a language other than English will increase your opportunities.

Asian languages offered by ALC also satisfy the WCAS foreign language requirements, the language requirements for most tracks of the School of Communications, and for Medill School of Journalism. In addition, students in McCormick School of Engineering may use our languages to fulfill their theme requirement.

Can AP credit place me out of a language requirement?
You must take and pass the applicable language placement test regardless of your AP credits achieved to fulfill your language requirement. AP course work is eligible for up to two elective language credits determined by AP scores received but it does not apply towards your college language requirements.

What is the language placement process?
To find out where your language placement test will be held during Wildcat Welcome Week, please see the placement table for more information.

Hindi and Japanese language placement exams are only available during Wildcat Welcome Week. Online placement tests are available in advance of new student week for Chinese and Korean language exams. These online language placement tests must be taken and completed between June 1st and August 1st.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages require validation testing, which is administered during Wildcat Welcome Week. Students of Chinese and Korean languages must check the online placement test site to confirm if validation testing is required to complete their language placement process. Students of Japanese language will be notified by email from the Language Placement Test Coordinator.


Placement Test Coordinator

Contact Information


Hong Jiang


Rami Nair


Junko Sato


Eunmi Lee


Does the Asian Languages and Cultures Department offer majors and minors?
Majors will be available in the near future through DALC. Currently, DALC offers two minor tracks, one in Chinese Languages and Cultures and one in Japanese Language and Cultures.

How can I use the languages I learn at Northwestern?
Many students who study languages offered by DALC use and further develop their language skills through study abroad, research abroad, and work abroad experiences.

Northwestern students also apply their language skills to international relations and government jobs in the United States. On average, individuals who use their language skills in their job earn 8% more than those who do not.

What are DALC affiliated programs?
Affiliated programs are other Northwestern departments and programs where DALC courses fulfill their home department/program major or minor requirements. Read more about programs that are affiliated with DALC.